Continuing its series spotlighting the theatre’s unsung heroes, The Ensemblist honored the female ensemble of Broadway’s Pretty Woman with a glam photoshoot with photographer Kai Ravelson. Below, ensemble member Ellyn Marie Marsh wrote a few words about the nature of an ensemble and the specific women with whom she's shared the stage at the Nederlander Theatre for the last year.
“I walked into the dressing room of the Nederlander Theater one cold winter Friday, exhausted from my week of performing, teaching , being a mom, understudy rehearsals and the list goes on. But I looked around the room and saw every woman struggling but coping with their days and weeks and months. Every woman sat diligently applying eyelash glue and prepping their makeup all the while balancing several plates and juggling lives, work, and side jobs with the greatest of ease. It was then that I realized I shared a dressing room with a group of lady bosses.
“The sanctity of a female ensemble dressing room holds a range of emotions from day to day. Our pre-show rituals include catch-ups, exercising, face masks, playlists, stories about our kids, dates, politics, news, conversations about sex, jokes, and family. We share tears and way too many laughs. But what struck me about our group of females was that the stigma of women being competitive was non-existent. Where some would see women being jealous, our second home on the fourth floor houses an uplifting sense of sisterhood.”
"But one overlying topic that continues to creep into our conversation is the idea of being a woman living in a man’s world. The old saying women have to do everything backwards and in heels resonates to many of us daily. Small victories in the Broadway community such as Cyndi Lauper paving the way for women winning a Tony for best score [for Kinky Boots] and then seeing the stunning Anaïs Mitchell and Rachel Chavkin taking home statues this year [for Hadestown] is incredibly inspiring. Though our group is a diverse group of women with a diverse set of identities, our hope for a more female-empowered future remains a constant desire for us all.”
"The female ensemble members of Pretty Women are not simply incredible actresses, but women who are also business owners, teachers, and mothers. Inspired by androgynous fashion, photographer Kai Ravelson captured images of the ladies in the alleys and catwalks outside of Broadway's Nederlander Theatre. In the photos, their refusal of gender norms showcases the women as not only beautiful, but strong and capable as well.”
Flip through photos of the glam shoot below:
See The Ensemblist's Tribute to the Female Ensemble of Pretty Woman
Pretty Woman: The Musical opened at the Nederlander Theatre August 16, 2018, after beginning preview performances July 20. Directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, the contemporary stage adaptation of the popular 1990 romantic comedy tells the story of a star-crossed meeting between a sex worker and a disillusioned businessman, the musical features a book co-written by the film’s director, the late Garry Marshall, and screenwriter J.F. Lawton, and music by Grammy winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance.